Still staying with our tips on health – here are some interesting ways for you to eat and drink smarter. As a ginger ale baby for as long as I can remember, I loved this first one:
Drink ginger ale instead of cola
High in calories and empty ones at that, did you know, colas (including the diet kind) are high in phosphorous, a mineral that can prevent the absorption of calcium? Ginger Ale is a better-carbonated sugar. It has no phosphorous and as many as 30 fewer calories per glass.
Freeze some melon balls
Substitute frozen melon balls for ice cubes in fruit drinks – 110g of honeydew melon has 230mg of potassium and 20g of vitamin C.
If you love jelly babies, then here is the news you’ve been waiting for – they are one of the best secret weapons anyone can have. A handful of low-fat sweets will help keep your blood glucose stable during all that exercise you’ve been promising yourselves you are going to do. (Low blood glucose can be the cause of the energy dips we feel during the day.)
Make a better fish finger
Fish fingers are the seafood version of hotdogs – delicious, simple and easy, unfortunately not so healthy. Here’s a healthier DIY version – cut a salmon or tuna steak into finger-size portions. Dip the sticks into an egg-white batter and roll them in a bowl of breadcrumbs. Stick a few in the freezer, and when you’re feeling peckish simply bake in the oven.
Drink cow juice after eating cow
Make that occasional juicy steak even better by washing it down with a glass of skimmed milk. According to research, calcium may help reduce the amount of saturated fat your body absorbs. Like fibre, calcium binds with fat molecules and helps flush them out through the intestines.
Use healthy garnishes
Another secret to weight-loss is making bland foods taste great. Smear mustard on a low-fat turkey sandwich and it becomes delicious. Use Worcestershire sauce to spruce up steamed broccoli and other healthy foods. Lightly brush barbecue sauce on grilled vegetables, and you’ll find yourself craving those grilled barbecue veggies.
Use less salt by adding after cooking. Shake it on when the plate reaches the table. Research shows that people given totally unsalted food – but a free hand with the shaker – put one fifth of the amount originally called for in the recipe.
Slurp down the milk
Your favourite breakfast cereal may be fortified with an alphabet of vitamins – but you may be getting less of the nutrients listed on the side of the box. Up to 40 per cent of the vitamins in the cereal quickly dissolve into the milk. To make sure you get the most vitamins from fortified breakfast cereals, pick up the bowl and slurp all the milk down.
Make a healthier marinade – think chicken piri piri, with an apple twist!
When grilling chicken, try this oil-free marinade – combine three small glasses of apple juice and two cloves of crushed garlic with one cup of reduced-salt soy sauce.
Watch your bottom
Fruit is good for you, so the best yoghurt must be the kind with fruit in it, right? Read on, for the most nutritious yoghurt, skip the ‘fruit that sits on the bottom of the carton’ varieties. The fruit will be mostly jam, which is the equivalent of eight or nine teaspoons of sugar per pot – nearly as much as a can of fizzy drink. Instead, choose plain low-fat yoghurt or flavours such as lemon, which don’t contain fruit, and add your own berries. Fresh berries will also provide a healthy dose of fibre.
Change your dips
Instead of using fatty sour cream based dips to slide your nibbles through, think black-bean dip or buy some hummus. It’s made from chickpeas, which are high in fibre, and it’s great with raw vegetables.
Buy the best berries
Before you buy strawberries or raspberries, turn the carton over. You’re looking for nature’s expiry date – juice stains. Dripping fruit can be an indication of being one step away from rotten fruit. If you’ve already bought berries that are going soft, place a single layer of them on a baking sheet and freeze for 20 minutes.
Snack on a stalk
Celery is pretty much the answer for anyone whose doctor has told them, ‘You have high blood pressure – cut down on salt’. Celery’s natural salty flavour can help squash your sodium urges, whether eaten raw or added to a wide variety of dishes. As a bonus, it contains potassium, a mineral that’s been shown to help fight hypertension.
Nuts are good for you. But almonds are among the best. A 30g serving has 160kcal, with about two thirds of those calories coming from heart-healthy fats. Almonds have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease thanks to their healthy fats. They’re also a great source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that’s hard to get from food sources. Almonds are great on their own but also add flavour to cereals, yoghurts, salads and even stir-fries
Brain juice – oranges are the only fruit
Any fruit is good, but oranges have to be the best. They offer a massive dose of immune-system boosting vitamin C – over 130 per cent of the recommended daily allowance – and a good helping of potassium, folic acid and pectin. Pectin is a fibre that helps balance blood sugar levels and helps keep hunger at bay. Oranges also include anti-cancer and anti-heart disease agents. So if only one fruit makes it into your bowl, make certain it is an orange.